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Iowa Dream Season Reflected in All-Big Ten Selections

Iowa Dream Season Reflected in All-Big Ten Selections

11/26/2002 by Jon Miller of Hawkeye Nation


Speechless is a good word to describe my reaction to 11 Iowa Hawkeye Football players being named 1st team all Big Ten by the Coaches and or Media.

But why should I be surprised? After all, 2002 might very well be the best season in Iowa Football history and there is still one very important Bowl game yet to be played.

The 11 first team selections is a New Big Ten record. Five of the 11 1st team all B10 position players on offense were Hawkeyes, including THREE offensive linemen. Add in tight end Dallas Clark who did a fantastic job of blocking this season and tackle David Porter who received 2nd team honors and I don’t think there is any doubt that Iowa’s offensive line was the most talented in the land.

The sad thing here is that guard Andy Lightfoot was left off of the ballot, and the main reason for that was his splitting time with Ben Sobieski. Their combined efforts were certainly all Big Ten caliber.

11 has been a good number to Iowa in November, as the Hawkeyes set the new school record for most wins in a season with 11.

Here are the players who earned first team All Big Ten honors on both the media and coaches ballots:

Brad Banks (Offensive Player of the Year)
Eric Steinbach (Offensive Lineman of the Year)
Dallas Clark
Robert Gallery
Bruce Nelson
Colin Cole
Bob Sanders

Nate Kaeding, Fred Barr, Howard Hodges and Fred Russell earned 1st Team all B10 honors on one of the two ballots (media or coaches).

Derek Pagel, Grant Steen and David Porter earned 2nd team all league honors on one ballot as well.

Jared Clauss, Mo Brown and CJ Jones earned at least one nod for Honorable Mention.

All 17 of the players that the Iowa Sports Information Department nominated for all Big Ten honors made at least Honorable Mention. That is truly remarkable in and of itself.

And to think that sophomore defensive end Matt Roth was not nominated and yet led the league in sacks with nine in eight league games. Such was the quandary for the Iowa Sports Information Department, who confers with the coaching staff on who is worthy of nomination; there were just so many good football players on this Iowa team.

Oh by the way, Kirk Ferentz was named Big Ten Coach of the Year on the same day that Iowa assistant Ron Aiken was named the National D1 Assistant Coach of the Year.

Brad Banks will most likely be at least a top three finisher in the Heisman, Maxwell and Walter Camp Awards and some early polls have him as the current favorite to win the Heisman.

Nate Kaeding is one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award for the nation’s best kicker and Dallas Clark is a semi-finalist for the John Mackey Award for the nation’s best tight end.

Eric Steinbach is on the Outland and Lombardi Award watch list. Bruce Nelson is on the Rimington Watch List that goes to the nation’s top center. Fred Russell is on the Doak Award watch list that goes to the nation’s top running back.

Kirk Ferentz will should finish 1st or 2nd in the National Coach of the Year balloting, as his main competition is Notre Dame’s head coach Ty Willingham. A Notre Dame loss this week to USC might seal the deal for Ferentz.

What might be more remarkable about 11 first team all Big Ten Hawkeyes is where some of them came from to get to such a high point.

Brad Banks started his first D1 college football game in August. He was not highly recruiting out of Hines Community College and several schools wanted him as a wide receiver. He is your 1st Team all Big Ten quarterback and Offensive Player of the Year. Iowa’s last 1st Team all Big Ten passer was Matt Rogers back in 1991 & 1990.

Eric Steinbach, Bruce Nelson and Robert Gallery were converted tight ends. Nelson was a former walk-on to the Iowa football team, as was Dallas Clark, a converted linebacker playing just his second season at the tight end position.

Bob Sanders was not highly recruited at all as several schools felt that he was ‘too short’. All he has done is record back-to-back 1st team all Big Ten seasons.

Derek Pagel and Grant Steen were also a walk-on to the Iowa football program.

The evidence continues to mount to support the claims of ‘best ever Iowa team’.

While some fans are worrying themselves over Iowa’s BCS ranking or engaging with Ohio State fans over who the real Big Ten champion is, please don’t forget to sit back and reflect, enjoy and appreciate the season you just witnessed.

It took 113 years for Iowa to have a season like this one and you never know when another year might come along to top the effort put forth by the 2002 Iowa Hawkeyes:

  1. Undefeated Conference Record for the first time since 1922
  2. Nine straight Big Ten wins dating back to last year
  3. Nine straight wins in one season, a school record
  4. 11 wins and counting. Just three teams in Iowa history had ever won 10 games before the start of this season.
  5. Arguably the best offense in school history
  6. On pace to have the highest season scoring average in school history
  7. On pace to have the lowest rushing yards allowed in school history
  8. The best place kicking performance in school history
  9. The best single season performance by a quarterback in school history
  10. Arguably the best Special Teams in school history
  11. Arguably the best receiving corps and running back tandem in school history
  12. Arguably the best offensive line in school history
  13. Possibly one of the best final season rankings in school history

And a head coach, considering the incredible rebuilding job he has accomplished in just four seasons, who may already be among the three best in school history at the young age of 47.

Breathe it all in, soak it up, stop and smell the roses; we may never come this way again in one glorious season.

Hawkeye NationHawkeye Nation was founded by Jon Miller, and later acquired by Rivals and Sports Illustrated. You can visit them at

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Iowa Dream Season Reflected in All-Big Ten Selections - Summary of Iowa football and basketball games